Foot-In-Mouth Vs. Nothing Between The Ears

More than 12 hours later, and after reading the transcript, reading other opinions, and viewing my Twitter notes, I can safely try to offer some opinions on last night’s face-off. It was certainly much, much more entertaining than last Friday’s presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

Assorted notes:

  • Joe, please look at the woman. It didn’t do hiim a ton of favors to barely look at his opponent. It’s the same crap McCain did last week.
  • Biden had an effective parry for every assertion Palin made. He’s gaffe-prone, but he knows his shit.
  • Meanwhile, Caribou Barbie is clearly reading off note cards and not giving us a whole lot in specifics.
  • Not that’s she’s supposed to. Most of the Republican campaign as of late has been specific-lite, given the economic fallout made McCain’s economic rollout the week before moot.
  • Biden is heavy on the Senate speak and wonkery, but this was a necessary tactic.  Rather than taking it right to Palin, he focused on McCain’s policies and explained them in a way someone who understands the workings of a legislative body has to.
  • Despite all the interviews of the past week, Palin is a much better debater than anyone probably gave her credit for.
  • That said, it would be nice if she’d answer the damn question.
  • Rather than answer said question, she’s “going to speak to the American people.” If Gwen Ifill hadn’t been hit with the sly attack from the Republican ops about her book just two days before, she probably would have hit her with a Jim Lehrer insistence. She has to be steaming.
  • “Nukular.” Nuh uh. Eight years of that shit was enough, Governor.  Learn basic fucking English.
  • Palin tells Biden it’s “DRILL, BABY, DRILL!” Every time I hear McCain, Palin, or a Republican crowd chant that stupid slogan (as if off-shore oil drilling will magically fix everything), I imagine it has to get their men at full mast and their female followers gushing.
  • “Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again.”  The sound you heard immediately after that was all the Reaganites coming at the same time.
  • McCain should hire Mark McGwire as a campaign spokesperson. Palin essentially told us that “we’re not here to talk about the past.” Apparently trying to fix the bad policies of the last administration isn’t worth talking about.
  • Regarding the gays: Palin would like you to know she is aggressively, full-on, no-holds-barred TOLERANT.  Still doesn’t like y’all getting hitched.
  • Biden says he and Obama don’t support gay marriage, of course. God, I long for the day when a Democratic candidate comes out and says, “Yes, I support the right of gays and lesbians to marry in this country. Marriage is both a civil and religious institution, but since it is a civil institution, it is wrong to discriminate and not give those marriage rights to committed homosexual couples.”
  • Can we get a politician who doesn’t feel the need to proclaim how much he or she loves Israel and say they’re the country’s best friend, please?  I’m sure there are plenty of observant Jews concerned about the Israeli/Palestinian situation who are tired of having their collective knob swallowed.
  • Also, Governor, American exceptionalism is tiresome, and it’s probably what gets us more animus even among our own allies as well as enemies (I’m willing to bet terrorists attack us and decry us for bouts of economic and military imperalism throughout the centuries.)
  • Biden spanks the concept of McCain as maverick. Thank you.
  • Based on Palin’s response to Ifill’s question about the VP and executive power, if elected, I assume she will be just redecorating Dick Cheney’s “undisclosed location” in a nicer shade of gray. Clearly, she has not a damn clue about what the Founding Fathers intended regarding separation of powers. She cited “flexibility in the office of Vice President,” meaning she’d be a Cheney you’d probably like to fuck.
  • Biden’s response about the overreaching of Cheney’s office and the unitary executive: RIGHT ON POINT.
  • Remind me what wars John McCain won again?
  • Biden dropped a Shakespeare reference tonight. Warms my cold, black heart.
  • Described McCain’s econ policy as “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.” SNAP.
  • So nationalized health care is socialism but bailing out Wall Street and buying up bad mortgages isn’t? Oy.
  • Folksy, non-sequitur shoutout to third graders in Alaska, Sarah? I deserve extra credit too for sitting through this. (Would Obama get away with giving a shoutout and self-bump to his homies on the South Side? Probably not.)
  • Joe: never speak in the third person EVER AGAIN. You aren’t T.O., Karl Malone, or Ocho Cinco.
  • But you got me with telling us about the car accident that killed your wife and daughter, sir, I gotta admit. (This was also smart: do not cede the family ground to Palin; Biden, in his commitment to fatherhood, commuted by train from Wilmington to D.C. every day so he could be with his sons.)
  • “It’s so nice to speak directly to the American people, without the filter of the mainstream media.”  Oh, Republicans, please stop trying to work the refs and blame the messenger. It’s transparent, and just because you say the news media is liberal doesn’t make it true in terms of coverage and balance.  If that were true these days, George W. Bush would have been run out on a rail years ago, no one would have fostered the bullshit story that Al Gore said he “invented” the internet and was “the inspiration” for the book and movie Love Story.  D.C. media like easy, cheap narratives and they like their access to power, and more often than not, that has been Republican power.  The bigger names in broadcast and print political media are socially liberal (or at least centrist), but are economically conservative: they want their tax cuts.  Also, they are owned by multi-national conglomerates whose CEOs vote Republican (see Sumner Redstone on the matter.) So, please stop with this “filter” bullshit. It might be a nice tactic to tap into the mis-directed anger of your supporters, but you look dumb to anyone with half a brain.

No one hit too hard, but there were more fireworks of interest here. Palin didn’t embarass herself further, but she didn’t fix the impression that she’s still not cut out for this by sticking to generalities and down-home speech. Biden didn’t put his foot in his mouth and backed off on any attacks that could have been spun as him beating up on Palin, when she gave him ample opportunity to.

It’s a win for the Democratic ticket, because the Republican ticket needed a Biden fuck-up and a sterling, outta-the-park performance by Palin to make a dent in the current poll deficit.

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The Speech And The Fallout

After listening to Barack Obama outline what he would do as president last night in Denver combined with his oratory skills, I’m convinced the man could sell me anything and I’d buy it happily:

Republicans were not expecting that speech. It was a laundry list in the style of Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speeches, but a necessary one — for someone blasted by his opponent as short on substance and high on style, that was a speech for wonks, encased in well-written rhetoric. It pounded nearly all the important points down the line and knocked each one of them, itching for a fight.

The one thing I was disappointed in? Not much mention the whole convention on the blatant Constitutional violations of the past eight years. I mean, the man is an attorney and Constitutional law scholar. This is bad: either the party has decided that Constitutional issues are too heady for big speeches or that they’d rather not mention the violations, so that their politicians can violate it when they’re in power. Not good.

Regardless, this is the first case where the nominee took it to John McCain — and there has been an overreaction on the part of the Republican’s campaign, reaching for a Republican governor who hasn’t finished even a term as an executive for his running mate.  Sarah Palin just finished speaking with McCain at an Ohio rally, and after introducing her family, kissing up to the top of the ticket, and talking about her reformer credentials — as if a politician connected to British Petroleum by marriage can be “free” of special interests — she laid out the real reason why McCain made this pick: a socially conservative woman to try and pick off women that voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary.

The people who voted in primaries for Clinton can’t be that stupid.  Thus, this is the GOP conceding the experience argument against Obama, because they picked someone who’s very green in terms of the national stage, and it’s not going to look good against Joe Biden in vice presidential debates.  The McCain campaign has stolen a bit of the thunder back with the press attention — but people are referencing the pick in contrast to what happened at the Democratic convention.

I’m not buying the supposed “change” that McCain’s selling — in his reformer credentials comes the memory that everyone forgot; he was knee-deep in the S&L scandal of the 80s, he just escaped more trouble because he was the first to squeal in the Keating Five mess.

Regardless, it’s going to be very close come November — and we’ll all be taken for a ride for the next couple of months. I’m willing to bet Obama will be asking a certain former rival of his to take to the trail and the TV shows over the next couple of months.

“And Now, The Senator From MBNA Has The Floor.”

And, apparently, a spot on the Democratic ticket.

It’s not that I hate or actively dislike Joe Biden. He’s probably what the Obama camp is looking for in terms of an attack dog and someone who knows foreign policy. two things Barack Obama has not shown himself to be the most proficient at (at least in the media’s point of view.) Biden makes the veep debates instant viewing for pure psychosis alone.

Please, oh please, let the psychogeezer McCain select someone like Joe Lieberman as a running mate. Those debates would be endelessly amusing.

But Biden was one of the big boys behind the bankruptcy reform bill that essentially made it more difficult to declare bankruptcy, continuing to stack the deck in favor of credit card companies with predatory lending and card-issuing practices, thus. I’m not going to expect any sort of meaningful economic reform if this ticket is elected.

And honestly, I’m with Holly on this one: Wes Clark’s decree that POW status didn’t qualify John McCain to be president was still the right thing to say. Too bad no one in the campaign seems to believe it, and went with the least unknown out of a set of candidates that were tiny blips at best.

Not like I won’t vote for this ticket over the old crank on the GOP side. And hey, at least it wasn’t Hillary Clinton, much as her kamikaze die-hards (partially a media creation) will gripe about how she earned a spot on this ticket, but — yeah, just kind of non-plussed about the whole mess, except for the fact that the wolves are already trying to sink their teeth in — when did this kind of crap analysis start being issued by the Associated Fucking Press?

Now, for pure entertainment value, please, oh please, let McCain choose Lieberman or Mitt Romney. Love to see Republicans twist themselves in knots over a Mormon on the ticket.